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Government Relations


Welcome to the CWU Office of Government Relations.

Our website is an important part of our commitment to transparency and accountability in public higher education. If you don't see what you need here, please contact us at 509-963-2111 and we'll get you the information you need.  Our office serves as CWU's official liaison with local, state, federal and elected officials for regulatory, budget, and policy matters of all kinds. We can help direct you to the right contact and provide critical background about legislative districts, pending policy issues, and current CWU data.

Meet Our Legislative Team!

Linda Schactler, Chief of Staff: (M) 509-607-4103;

Linda coordinates work on the priorities of the Office of the President, including local, state, and federal governmental relations.  As Secretary to the Board of Trustees, she organizes and supports the work of the board.  Linda is the former Director of Communications for the Washington State Senate, and former deputy director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. She worked in commercial radio and television as news reporter, producer and announcer. Linda ran her own Olympia-based public affairs firm for a decade, providing crisis- and issue-management services for a variety of clients. She holds a BA in English Literature from WSU and an in MA in English Literature from Washington University, St. Louis.

Steve DuPont, Senior Director of Government Relations: (M) 509-201-0528;

Steve has been on CWU's Government Relations team since 2008.  He was the Vice President for Political Affairs for the Associated Students of Central Washington University in 2006 and 2007. Steve served on the Washington Student Lobby Board of Directors and was awarded the President’s Cabinet Award in 2007 for his effective advocacy on behalf of students. Steve holds a BS in Construction Management from CWU and an MEd in Higher Education from the University of Arkansas. 


2020-21 Legislative Priorities

Operating Budget

CWU's primary goal for the 2021 legislative session will be to minimize reductions to operating budget appropriations. The COVID-19 pandemic plunged Central Washington University into a state of financial exigency when state and county rules drove students from campus. Students provide about 67 percent of all university funds, from housing and dining, to medical services and activities. Specifically, on March 19, 2020, the Kittitas County Health Officer ordered that CWU close all its facilities and direct students who had left for spring break to not return for spring quarter through June 30, 2020. This has led to a projected 50 percent reduction in non-tuition revenue from students, which comprises nearly one half of the entire operating budget.

On March 19, the same day as the Kittitas County Health Order, Central Washington University immediately announced austerity measures that are saving millions of dollars:

  • Suspended all travel
  • Froze all hiring
  • Froze all purchasing

Thanks to CWU’s quick action, CWU is projected to achieve $11.2 million in savings through its own internal decisionmaking and abilities; however, the total loss of revenue is projected to be $16.6 million through June 30. After accounting for federal CARES Act funding of $3.8 million, and savings in the cost of merchandise that was never purchased, CWU still has a remaining deficit of $1.6 million.

The operating budget is in a very precarious position due to this very sudden and severe drop in revenues that, among many things, pay the salaries and benefits for about 1,800 employees and are needed for the $12-million annual bond payments for housing and dining facilities. 

see info below



CWU Operating Funds Review - Spring Term 2019

Non-Tuition Student Revenue - $32,046,496
State General Funds - $24,457,722
Tuition/S&A Fees - $17,906,605



see info below



CWU Operating Funds Review - Spring Term 2020

Non-Tuition Student Revenue - $16,418,979
State General Funds - $21,877,529
Tuition/S&A Fees - $18,772,192



In May 2020, the Office of Financial Management  directed all state agencies to devise plans to accommodate a 15-percent reduction in state funding. For CWU the cut would be about $11 million. CWU's plan and others are located on the OFM website.

Economic Impact
In any given year, approximately 70 percent of CWU’s operating budget is used to support employees who deliver instruction, advising and tutoring. They support medical and behavioral health outreach and maintain state buildings and grounds. They are the police officers who keep students safe and the accountants who ensure the careful use of state funds.

Students and CWU employees have a massive impact on the economic health of the city of Ellensburg, where about one of every seven jobs is at the university. The annual payroll for this educated workforce supports retail, food, housing, and other businesses. The purchases of employees and the activities of the university also generate sales tax and other revenue that supports local government and the delivery of vital human services. Retailers in the Ellensburg area know that CWU students represent 50 percent of all retail customers. Employees, students, and guests generate more business throughout the year than any other single entity. Camps, conferences, and events hosted by CWU draw more than 50,000 people to restaurants.

Economic Recovery
Public higher education will play a vital role in Washington’s post-pandemic economic recovery, which has disproportionately impacted individuals with minimal education. According to the Federal Reserve, 39 percent of those employed in February from households earning under $40,000 suffered a job loss in March, while 63 percent of workers with at least a bachelor’s degree worked entirely from home. 

In the years immediately following the Great Recession, every job that returned to the economy required some education beyond high school. Most required at least a bachelor’s degree. Universities that specialize in the education of first-generation and under-represented people will be instrumental in preparing Washingtonians to compete in a global and rapidly changing economy.

Biennial Capital Budget

The highest priority in Central Washington University’s 2021-23 Capital Budget Request is $55 million to complete the renovation and construction of a Health Education academic facility. In the 2019-2021 budget, CWU received $5 million to design the project, which would renovate and expand the 60-year-old Nicholson Pavilion. The high-use facility needs modern instructional space in order to accommodate demand for the program that prepares K-12 health and physical education teachers--the largest program in the state of Washington. 


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